Finding Inner Peace…

by FI Fighter on April 29, 2015

in Health Updates, Progress, Thoughts

Year4

You could say that I have a restless mind. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a person about accomplishing goals and tackling on the next challenges in life. If you rewind the tape, this is something that I’ve been doing since probably the beginning of high school.

First, it was get a part-time job so that I could have some play money to throw around. Then, it was do well in school so that I could get accepted into a nice university. In college, it was again get good grades so that I could graduate and secure a high paying job. Once in Corporate America, it was all about paying my dues and getting promoted…

When I finally started investing, it became a battle of growing the net worth and becoming financially independent as soon as possible. So, I kept right on hustlin’ all over again…

Let’s start by purchasing one house! Two houses, three houses… Not good enough… Try harder… Buy more, more, more!

$100k, $200k, $300k net worth… Sure, that’s progress… but wouldn’t it be really AWESOME if I could get to $1,000,000?!?

On, and on, and on… this cycle continued. It was like, no matter where I was in life, it was never good enough because I ALWAYS felt like I had to be striving for so much more… But why was that? I’m not sure…

Perhaps it’s because our society is so out of touch with reality that we no longer even know what’s really worth valuing? It’s almost as though being busy all of the time is considered a virtue whereas loafing around is something to be ashamed of… Hmm, that line of thinking seems extremely flawed when I ask myself, Is making time in your day to meet up with friends to share a good laugh important, or is putting in more overtime hours so that you can affix a “senior” label to your job title a more worthwhile pursuit?”

Perhaps it’s because we live in a materialistic society where consumption is not only accepted but highly encouraged? How else are we going to keep stimulating the economy?!? Buy more toys and gadgets! If you aren’t going to buy consumer products, well, you still need to do your part and use money for something. Go invest it, instead! Regardless, to fit in with everyone else, the thought of money needs to constantly be on your mind!

Prior to taking a leave of absence away from the rat race, I’ll confess that I was losing myself… Life had become this giant blur and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep up with the pace… I was so busy trying not to fall behind (fall behind from what?) that I no longer even knew what I wanted… Or what it was that I was chasing…

There became this incessant need to keep investing — Greed? Fear? Addiction? Because the 9-5 life had so completely overwhelmed me that I felt like my only recourse of action was to defeat the system by getting to early FI ASAP?

Whatever the reason, one thing was for certain — there was no inner peace.

So, although on the surface I was “doing well”, I never felt TRUE happiness nor content. And it slowly dawned on me that I was again chasing after the wrong things in life.

*Sigh*… I can’t seem to get it right!

My job wasn’t bringing me any fulfillment… But neither was building wealth and becoming “successful” in society’s eyes.

No. In order to find TRUE happiness and inner peace, I would have to do something that I never ever made time for when I was working — I had to search deep within.

I asked myself repeatedly, “What is it that you really want out of this one life that you’ve got? What will actually make you smile and whole again?

It wasn’t immediately evident to me. I searched for awhile… daily. Whether it was during my morning jogs, while I was meditating in the park, or even late at night when most everyone else was sleeping…

But I believe that my search for inner peace can be summed up most succinctly by the following:

“Health is the greatest gift,

Contentment the greatest wealth,

Faithfulness the best relationship.”

-Buddha

buddha_quote photo

http://dontgiveupworld.com/wallpaper-with-positive-quote-by-lord-buddha-health-is-the-greatest-gift/

As usual, my search led me right back to the Big 3 in life: Health, Wealth, and Relationships.

As I’m finding out first-hand, Health is the greatest gift because without it, nothing else matters. Without good health, everything and everyone can and will be taken away from you.

Contentment is what I need to realize. I’m at a good place in life right now. I already know for certain that I don’t desire material goods and lifestyle inflation. I’m a very simple guy who prefers to lead an even simpler life. But I need to be content with where I am currently at! I don’t need to own more houses. I don’t need to be a multi-millionaire. I don’t need to be chasing more $$$. Actually, I need to resist greed with all my might, otherwise the vicious cycle that I’m trying to escape will only keep me further ensnared in its grasp. There’s no need to always be chasing MORE in life! Be happy and thankful for what you’ve already got! I’ve been blessed in so many ways… I need to accept and embrace contentment for a change.

Lastly, to find inner peace, I need to dedicate my time and energy towards building and maintaining meaningful relationships. This is an area of my life that I keep finding excuses to neglect! It’s the people in my life who bring me the most joy; I owe Faithfulness to my friends, family, and loved ones, for without them, I have NOTHING. And I need to give back and do more for the community (local, online, blogging, etc.) that has been so generous and kind to me.

A work in progress, that’s nothing new, but I look forward to getting my life back on track and moving in the right direction. 🙂

 

Fight On!

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Roadmap2RetireNo Gravatar April 29, 2015 at 7:56 pm

It is sad that we are all caught in this race to achieve and reach for more. You summarized it well – that the three most important things are health, wealth and relationships. In chasing wealth, we forget about health and relationships.

I enjoyed that post, FIFighter. Thanks for sharing.
R2R

Reply

2 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 30, 2015 at 10:25 am

R2R,

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the post.

I agree, in the quest for freedom, a lot of us will over-dedicate our efforts towards wealth, and in the process we will compromise on health and relationships.

Over here in the valley, there are plenty of wealthy millionaires, many miserable beyond comprehension…

I can’t say I’m above all that, especially when I was younger. I worked too hard and jeopardized my health in the process. While consumers are living in the moment and paycheck to paycheck, on the other end of the spectrum you have people who are investing like mad and burning themselves out… When I stop to analyze, I think both types of lifestyles are CRAZY!

Life is all about balance. More often times than not, I still need a reminder on that!

All the best!

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3 Dividend HustlerNo Gravatar April 29, 2015 at 9:28 pm

Thank you FIF for sharing this awesome post. It’s definitely an eye opener. I really enjoyed that Buddha quote. When does it ever end huh? This long grind we’re in, when does it stop? We just gotta enjoy the journey as well. We’ve already made it bud. Most important, we have our health. Everythings great, it’s all in perspective. Life’s wonderful and most of our problems are first world problems. We got it made. I have been slowing things down myself and I’ve been telling myself , ” whats the Freaking rush?” Let’s enjoy now. Take care FIF.

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4 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 30, 2015 at 10:29 am

DH,

Thanks for the support! I hear you, this game or any game we make up for ourselves can quite possibly never end…

There’s nothing wrong with having drive and ambition, but there has to be a means for all that effort… Accumulating money just to have more money will never lead to any real fulfillment… In the end, I think we all ultimately desire the same things: good health and meaningful relationships.

We are both in a wonderful place. I’m glad you are making a conscious decision to slow things down and enjoy the good things in life.

Later this afternoon, I’m going to join some good buddies for tea time. I can’t wait! 🙂

Cheers!

Reply

5 No Nonsense LandlordNo Gravatar April 30, 2015 at 6:13 am

Good job on the reflection. Being a multi-millionaire is no panacea. You still need cash flow, the low-risk type. It does help to have more assets, but it is easier to sleep when the risk is reduced.

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6 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 30, 2015 at 10:31 am

Eric,

Cash flow definitely makes all this possible, but I’ve learned that more is not always better, especially if it causes you to have to make trade-offs in other aspects of life.

I’m just trying to enjoy life more everyday.

Take care!

Reply

7 markNo Gravatar April 30, 2015 at 6:55 am

I am glad you have some resolve and your spirit is no longer churning. The greatest investment you can make is in yourself.

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8 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 30, 2015 at 10:31 am

Mark,

Thanks! Finding inner peace isn’t easy but I’m going to keep going in that direction. That would indeed be the greatest investment.

Take care!

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9 Midwestern LandlordNo Gravatar April 30, 2015 at 8:28 am

There definitely comes a point where the time and effort of achieving more assets is not worth it. There is more to life. Particularly for people that do not subscribe to lifestyle inflation. It is just not necessary once you have the assets to pay the basic ongoing bills.

Long term, the real estate assets that you have acquired will do wonderful things.

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10 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 30, 2015 at 10:33 am

Midwestern Landlord,

Yes, definitely. Paying off bills is the first step, then an adequate margin of safety. After that, more is just gravy but no longer imperative.

I can’t say that I have so much cash flow coming in that I’ll never have to worry about money again, but I do have a solid foundation which gives me a lot of peace of mind.

I realized that I don’t need to be at 100% early FI, or 150% to stop chasing so relentlessly anymore.

Slow down. Breathe. Breathe again. And enjoy the blessings of everyday life.

Best wishes!

Reply

11 Gen Y Finance GuyNo Gravatar April 30, 2015 at 10:14 am

It is so easy to leave one race and enter another. We leave one mans cage to only build a custom cage around ourselves. I think we just have to remind ourselves that it isn’t about the money, it’s about the FREEDOM. If you don’t take the time to enjoy the FREEDOM then what is it all for.

It’s innate to produce, especially for guys like us. But we will burn ourselves out if we constantly stay in production mode.

We are probably a lot a like. I can’t remember a vacation I have gone on that I didn’t take a stack of books to read, podcasts to listen too, and side projects to accomplish.

Frankly it is so hard to turn it off.

Glad you are finding your way to an inner piece and some sort of balance.

Cheers!

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12 FI FighterNo Gravatar April 30, 2015 at 10:37 am

Gen Y,

Yes, it’s exactly that — I went from one cage and ran right into another one… both stressful.

FREEDOM is what we’re all after but maybe in my mind I was deceived into thinking that i needed so much more…

I’ve been in production mode since 18, so unplugging from that is definitely going to take some time and effort. I hear you completely — even when I’m on a plane, I feel the need to read up and study and all those things.

These days, I’m working to re-train and retire my old Type A personality…

Let’s go with the flow and chill out from time to time 🙂

All the best!

Reply

13 RaulNo Gravatar May 1, 2015 at 8:46 am

Hey!
I been reading your post for awhile, I do agree with everything you said. But it’s hard… I almost feel my brain smoke, but I want more and more. It’s an addiction. Everywhere I look I find an opportunity to make money… to start a business and invest the profits. In my mind, I want 20 houses… I want to be a millionaire. It’s a daily thinking process… the only way it stops its when I am sleeping.

I am 27 years old… I hope and wish to retire at 35.

Regardless, I am happy you have found the inner peace many of us wish we had.
I really enjoy reading your blog…

Thanks

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14 FI FighterNo Gravatar May 6, 2015 at 10:26 am

Raul,

Thanks for stopping by! Glad you are enjoying the blog.

Definitely, the path to early FI and becoming a millionaire can feel like a non-stop rush, or addiction to get there.

Sometimes we overthink it. As long as we put together a plan and the right actions in place, we should get there, eventually.

The journey needs to be as enjoyable if not more so than the final destination. Otherwise, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride to the top.

Cheers!

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15 JTNo Gravatar May 6, 2015 at 10:20 am

Great post!

I come from a family that likes to acquire real estate in Southern California. With over 20 doors, my struggle is, “when is enough, enough?” I found some peace in how we do business, though. My family likes to rent our doors for about $200-250 less than any other doors in the area to give a single mom, a newly divorced individual, or a person who just lost their job a chance to get back on two feet. We don’t charge late penalties, as long as they’re trying and working hard to pay. We almost always refund their sec. deposit in full when they move out if they didn’t severely damage the place and they were good, hardworking people.

I also work in real estate and realize that clients with homes by the beach may not have as many friends as those who have a 2 bedroom condo where friends and family would rather gather. People would rather sleep on the ground and on sofas, instead of get their own master bedroom with their own private bathroom if the true friendship is there.

I’ve also recently learned that “expectation and comparison are the two roots of all evil”. To me, comparison is the main root. This leads back to contentment. If no one in the world judged you, would you truly be happy where you are now, with what you have?

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16 FI FighterNo Gravatar May 6, 2015 at 10:28 am

JT,

Thanks for the comment. That’s very inspiring stuff to hear and aligns very well with my own take on being a landlord — Not only does it help you achieve early FI, but you are afforded a wonderful opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of other people.

I recently executed a lease agreement and am giving the tenant an option to move in early, without extra fees so that they can get setup and ready to go when their lease officially starts.

I love what you are doing and that’s a wonderful thing. You’re definitely right about the “comparison” part of the equation. We would all be a lot happy and less frenetic with everything we did if we didn’t always feel the burden to appease other people and compete with them.

Best wishes!

Reply

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